National leader of Patriot Front among those arrested at Idaho pride event

Tom Rosseau, from Dallas, Texas, formed the Patriot Front in 2017 while still a teenager

Bevan Hurley
Sunday 12 June 2022 15:53 BST
A member of the Patriot Front is arrested in Idaho on Saturday
A member of the Patriot Front is arrested in Idaho on Saturday

The national leader of the extremist hate group Patriot Front was one of 31 members arrested on suspicion of trying to start a riot at a Pride march in Idaho on Saturday.

The Idaho-Statesman reported Tom Rosseau was among the white nationalists who police in Coeur d’Alene found packed into the back of a U-Haul truck.

Police said the men were standing inside the truck wearing khakis, navy blue shirts and beige hats with white balaclavas covering their faces when police pulled over the U-Haul and began arresting them on the side of the road.

Only one of the arrested men was from Idaho, according to The Statesman. Mr Rosseau is from Texas, and the remainder of the arrested men were from Washington, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming.

Police said that they were tipped off by a “concerned citizen” who saw the men “looking like a little army” load up into the truck at a hotel, and not from an informant within the group.

“They came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said at a news conference on Saturday.

The group’s members were charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanour charge, and police said they had an “operations plan” with them.

They are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

Police found the Patriot Front members packed in a rented U-Haul van dressed in riot gear (REUTERS)

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mr Rosseau is in his early 20s and was formerly involved with the white supremacist group Vanguard America.

He attended the Unite the Right march in Charlottesburg, Virginia, in 2017, which saw violent clashes between far right groups and opposing protesters which resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer.

Mr Rosseau formed the Patriot Front the same year while still a teenager.

The Patriot Front’s racist and antisemitic manifesto advocates for a separate white-only state within the United States, and claims that only those with European ancestry should be legally defined as “American”.

He was arrested in Weatherford, Texas, in 2020 on misdemeanour criminal mischief charges for allegedly putting up stickers on county property.

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